Floatfest showcases Rose Parade floats for limited time

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Floral floats, marching bands and equestrian units took to the streets under a sunny California sky as the 135th Rose Parade drew hundreds of thousands of spectators on New Year’s Day. 

Many of the people that lined the 5.5-mile parade route camped out overnight on the sidewalk to secure the best viewing spots while millions more watched the event from around the globe.  

For Southern Californians or visitors who were unable to see the parade live, there’s still a chance to see the colorful floats in person at FloatFest located at E. Sierra Madre and East Washington boulevards in Pasadena on Tuesday.  

One of the biggest and brightest floats was the San Diego Zoo float “It Began With a Roar,” which won the parade’s top award, the Sweepstakes Trophy. 

The San Diego Zoo's
The San Diego Zoo’s “It Began With a Roar” float won the Sweepstakes Award at the 135th Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2024. (KTLA)

“The details are spectacular and having worked on the floats, it gives you an idea of just how much effort goes into each and every float,” a parade representative told KTLA’s Jennifer McGraw.  

According to a news release from the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, the float depicted iconic wildlife from the zoo, including Rex the lion, whose roar more than a century, inspired a dream for the world-renowned zoo.

“We are humbled and honored to receive the Sweepstakes Trophy, but more importantly, we are grateful the Rose Parade allows San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance an opportunity to share our conservation message with a global audience,” Paul A. Baribault, president and chief executive officer, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, said in the release.

The float representing One Legacy, an organization that helps patients seeking organ donations, was especially important for some of the volunteers that worked on it.  

“My son was actually an honoree. He has his photograph [on the float],” a woman identified only as Margarita told KTLA. “He registered at the DMV and once he passed away, he was able to save eight lives by donating his corneas and tissue.”  

In addition to the amazing floats, there were 21 bands marching down Colorado Boulevard and 19 equestrian units.  

Taking home the parade’s Extraordinaire Award was the city of Newport Beach’s “Jingle on the Waves” float. At 165 feet, it was the parade’s longest float. 

“The usual size is anywhere from 38 to 55 feet, so this is triple,” a parade representative explained.  

From 7-9 a.m., Floatfest is having senior and handicap viewing, with the general public allowed at the event from 9-5 p.m. 

More information on how to attend Floatfest can be found here.  



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